Amazingly, the FDA currently does not regulate the use of nanotechnology in food, despite its widespread use, and serious public health concerns. We need to let the FDA know that the use of nanotechnology in food products needs strong pre-market, public health protections. July 24 is the deadline for public comment on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) draft guidance to industry on the use of nanotechnology in food.
The incorporation of atomic- to molecular-sized Engineered Nanoscale Materials (ENMs) is supposed to have benefits both for food manufacturers and consumers. For example, coating food conveyer belts with nano-silicon dioxide could, in theory, prevent pathogen growth, make the belts easier to clean and reduce the likelihood of contamination of the food carried on the conveyor belts, but we know very little about the health effects of exposure to ENMs. What we do know is cause for alarm.
Scientific research indicates that ENMs pose significant health risks if inhaled or spread on the skin. A 2012 National Research Council study notes that “there is little progress” on research about the human health effects of ENM oral consumption. You can read more about the absence of regulation of nanotechnology in IATP’s report from last year, Racing Ahead: U.S. Agri-Nanotechnology in the Absence of Regulation.
This new FDA guidance on nanotechnology and food should become a basis for mandatory regulation that protects public health. Take action today and make your voice heard. Urge FDA to regulate nanotechnology to protect consumer health.